Police Deny Killing Benue Militia Leader, Ghana

Wanted militia leader Terwase Akwaza, popularly known as Ghana, has not been killed by the police, contrary to reports that he has met his doom, the Benue State Police Command said on Thursday.

The notorious militia leader was reportedly killed days back when a special police team stormed his group’s hideout along the Benue-Taraba border.

While a shootout occurred between the police and members of Akwaza’s gang, the elusive militia leader got away.

The Commissioner of Police in Benue State, Bashir Makama, told Channels Television that Akwaza escaped from the police team when his gang spotted the team and opened fire.

Benue State Police Commissioner Bashir Makama

In the ensuing shootout, one Danladi Awudu who had set up a checkpoint to protect Akwaza was killed.

Afterwards, the police recovered more than 100 live ammunitions and weapons from the scene.

“Ghana is still alive and as I speak to you right now, there is an ongoing operation to capture him. I am supposed to be in Abuja, but because of this operation, I had to wait and monitor it,” the police commissioner said.

He added, “Three days ago. we almost got him when we recovered those weapons and the corpse of Danladi Awudu who opened fire on my men.”

The police declared Akwaza wanted in April this year and announced a N10m reward for information leading to his capture.

Although he has yet to be captured, the police believe they are closing in on him and have depleted the resources available to him as well as his camps.

The police have also focused on combing the Takum/Wukari axis of the Taraba and Benue boundary for his hideouts.

Speaking on the latest encounter with the militia leader, the police commissioner said, “This (latest) search was between the Benue and Taraba state boundary, particularly in Takum and Wukari where he took refuge, but the typical Ghana we know, mounted several guards.

“When we encountered the last guard who opened fire on my men, he fled the scene and we recovered a lot of his personal effects including his retroviral drugs which he could not even escape with, but we are not relenting and we will not allow criminals to take over this command.”

Police Declare Militia Leader, Terwase Akwaza Wanted

Police Declare Militia Leader, Terwase Akwaza WantedThe Nigeria Police has declared militia leader, Terwase Akwaza, also known as Ghana wanted.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, made the disclosure on Friday while parading 19 members of Akwaza’s gang at the Police Headquarters in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

“The said Terwase Akwasa, A.K.A. Ghana, is wanted for merciless killing of several innocent persons, 17 in Zaki Biam and about 50 in other different locations in Benue State; and for wanton destruction of property worth millions of Naira by arson at Zaki Biam in Benue on the 20th of March, 2017; and for other capital offences such as kidnapping, armed robbery, culpable homicide, mischief by fire, criminal conspiracy and others.

“Police investigation revealed that he is also responsible for the killing of Mr Denen Igbana (late), the Special Adviser on Security to the Executive Governor of Benue State, Mr Samuel Ortom,” Mr Moshood said.

He also announced that the Benue State Government is offering 10 million Naira to anyone who provides information leading to his arrest.

“Terwase Akwasa, A.K.A. Ghana, is a dangerous suspect (from) Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State. He speaks Tiv, Idoma and pidgin English languages fluently.

“I want to make it clear that the Benue State Government has placed 10 million Naira reward for anyone with useful information that can lead to his arrest,” the Police spokesman said.

NAF Intensifies Search For Ghana/ISIS Group In Benue State

Nigerian Air Force, Bombing, BornoThe Nigerian Air Force, on Thursday launched a seven day air surveillance and bombardment operation code-named “Operation Smoke Out”.

The operation is to check the activities of wanted militia leader, Terwase Akwaza and possible existence of ISIS/Boko Haram group in Benue state, as recently announced by the Department of State Services.

The Air Officer Commanding of the Tactical Air Command, Air Vice Marshal, Nurudeen Balogun, said there are no official intelligence on the existence of ISIS/Boko Haram in Benue state, Operation Smoke Out, is targeted at all known criminal elements involved in the Zaki Biam killings and the ISIS group if it exists.

The Air Officer listed Agatu, Katsina Ala and Zaki- Biam in Benue state as well as Wukari in Taraba state as the flash points for the operation, the operations will include other security agencies, while the Benue state government tasked indigenes on intelligence sharing.

The Air Officer briefs journalist on the component of the operation said,

“We are working with other security agencies to make sure we put a stop to this menace and so some air assets including, aisle assets and gunships and some fighter airplanes will be operating in the next seven days, conducting intensive operations, both day and night to make sure that we solve the problems”.

Governor Samuel Ortom who was represented by his Special Adviser on Sports and Youth Development, Professor Jonathan Uever, expressed confidence in the military to end the Benue violence.

“The Benue state government has a lot of confidence in the operations of the military and with the briefs we have received from the Air Officer Commanding, we know that it is going to be well and the people will sleep with their eyes closed, especially in the areas they showed us that they will carry out the operations”.

The Air Officer Commanding said, although there are no official report of ISIS/Boko Haram cell in Benue, the operation is designed to root out all criminal elements.

The acting commanding officer of the 101 Air Defense Group, Mohammed Baba-Ari, in a briefing with pilots and mission commanders, listed key troubled areas like Agatu, Katsina Ala, Zaki Biam and Wukari forest in Taraba state.

“The major restive areas include Agatu, Zaki Biam, Katsina Ala and Logo local government areas among others. Also a forest stretching between Benue and Taraba states is the suspected enclave for the vandals perpetrating these acts”.

The Operation Smoke Out follows last weeks approval by the Chief of Air Staff, to commence counter terrorism operations with air power in a joint security operation with ground troops of other sister agencies.

Benue Govt. Increases Bounty On Capture Of Terwase Akwaza

Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, has increased the bounty for the capture of Terwase Akwaza, to 10 million Naira.

The reward for the suspect also known as ‘Ghana’, follows the recent arrest of 18 associates of the gang leader and recovery of large cache of arms.

Governor Ortom revealed this at an event held in Honour of his retiring aide -camp, Deputy Superintendent of Police, jimmy Agaku.

In August 2016, Governor Ortom had pledged to give a reward of five million Naira to anybody with useful information about the alleged criminal, who till date is still at large.

Police Parade Suspected Killer Herdsmen, Others In Benue

Police, Kidnap Suspect, Turkish School,Four herdsmen suspected to have been involved in killing of farmers and destruction of villages in Tarka Local Government Area (LGA) have been paraded by the Police in Benue state.

The Police also paraded 14 alleged cattle rustlers, alongside some cattle said to have been stolen by them.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr Bashir Makama, who paraded the suspects, confirmed the killing of two farmers in Kwande LGA by suspected herdsmen.

“Some of them are those that have rustled cows and you can see the cows there, some of them are those that were arrested at the scenes of herdsmen and farmers clashes.

“We heard there was a reprisal attack in that particular community which led to the killing of two persons, and the people (attackers) have already been identified; detectives are already out there looking for them.

“Jungle justice is not allowed, if anybody has rustled their cows, they have reasons to report and if they report, it will be treated. But for them to take the laws into their hands is not acceptable,” Mr Makama said.

He said some of the rustled cows recovered from the suspects by the Police have been return to their owners.

In another development, the Benue State Security Council, during an operation alongside the Inspector General of Police Crack Team, also recovered large cache of arms from a bunker allegedly located in the stronghold of wanted suspect, Terwase Akwaza, alias Ghana.

Items recovered include a General Purpose Machine gun, grenades, assorted riffles and live ammunition among others.

The IGP’s investigation team, led by a Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Bello, has been in Zaki Biam and Katsina Ala for over two weeks, in a bid to track down the wanted suspect.

Speaking to reporters, Governor Samuel Ortom accused Ghana of hiding behind his amnesty programme to perpetrate crime in Benue state.

“You can now confirm when I said Ghana was using the amnesty to shield himself and perpetrate criminality, but this is just one armoury. We understand from information available to us that there are many more elsewhere and you can imagine the terror they did in Zaki Biam.

“I want to assure the people of Benue state that as we work together with them, and with the team I have here today, the security men that are supporting us in this state, and the directive of the President who is very passionate about the security situation in the state, we are going to overcome this,” he said.

Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Coloniel Edwin Jando (rtd), highlighted the details of the operations.

“These weapons were in a bunker and someone gave the Police information and they used their instruments to discover them under the ground, the bunker was broken and taken out.

“There are so many of those bunkers out there in Gbishe, and some arrests have been made with some of those arrested taken to Abuja for further investigations,” he said.

JTF Recovers Sophisticated Weapons From Benue’s Wanted Gang Leader

Illegal Weapons, Benue, JTFThe Nigerian Army has recovered a large collection of weapons from the Gbishe enclave of Benue state’s most wanted gang leader, Terwase Akwaza, in the ongoing ‘Operation Capture Ghana’. 

Items recovered include a carton full of explosives with two mini rocket launchers in addition to assorted weapons and a power bike.

The seized weapons and other military hardware and uniform, were exhibited before newsmen at the Government House by the Joint Security Taskforce, where Governor Samuel Ortom vowed to crush the Ghana-led gang.

Governor Ortom wondered why a civilian would be in possession of such high end security weapons and explosives.

He submitted that the wanted gang leader, Terwase Akwaza (also known as Ghana) must have been planning terror attacks in the state.

FG Destroys 1,500 Illegal Weapons In Benue       

Illegal Weapons, BenueThe Presidential Committee on Small and Light Weapons says the Federal Government has concluded arrangements with the German government to train beneficiaries of the Benue State Amnesty Programme.

Chairman of the Committee, Ambassador Emmanuel Imohe, disclosed this at the destruction of over 1,500 assorted weapons allegedly seized from Benue’s most wanted robbery gang leader, Mr Terwase Akwaza and other armed robbery suspects in the north-central state.

Giving statistics on illegal handling of arms on Tuesday in Makurdi, Ambassador Imohe, who was represented by Mr Dickson Orji, said that at least eight million illicit arms were believed to be in some Nigerians’ possession.

Governor Samuel Ortom began the official destruction exercise with his deputy, Mr Benson Abounu, after inspecting the cache of assorted arms.

He restated his administrations’ commitment to training all those who embraced the amnesty programme.

Governor Ortom, however, warned that those who reneged on the programme and went back to crime would be dealt with.

He hinted that the exercise would continue till Friday and promised to hunt down all known criminals in the state.

JTF Recovers Rustled Cows From Suspected Benue Gang Leader

jtf, Rustled Cows, Benue, Gang LeaderThe Joint Security Task Force has recovered 14 rustled cattle from the alleged kidnap den of the wanted suspect and gang leader, Terwase Akwaza, popularly called ‘Ghana’ in Benue state.

The Benue State Commissioner Of Police, Mr Bashir Makama, while briefing journalists in Makurdi, the state capital, said that the police have made serious efforts to speed up the arrest of the suspect.

According to him, ‘Ghana’ will be arrested on charges of murder and kidnap.

After investigations, the police discovered that the recovered cattle are only among the over 3,000 cattle allegedly rustled by the suspect.

Mr. Makama stated that the joint security almost caught the wanted gang leader, but noted, however, that ‘Ghana’ was only fortunate to have sensed the approaching security forces, who got stuck on a bad road within his hide out.

Benue State Offers 5m Naira Reward For Terwase Akwaza

Benue state government, Samuel Ortom, five million naira reward The Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, has pledged to give a reward of five million Naira to anybody with useful information about an alleged criminal, Terwase Akwaza.

The suspect has been accused of various criminal allegations and is now declared wanted.

The secretary to the State Government, Mr Bem Melladu, announced the reward after the Security Council meeting in the state capital, Makurdi, in hopes that residents would see it as an incentive to join in the hunt for the suspect popularly called ‘Ghana’.

They have also, urged members of the community not to give cover to the suspect and his entire gang.

The Commissioner of Police was also directed to re-visit some cases, especially the murder of Reverend father John Adeyi, with a view to tracking and bringing the killers to light.